When I arrived at CitiField last night, I prepared myself to be witnessing the best pitcher in the sport but by night’s end I realized Jacob deGrom might very well be the best PLAYER in the sport.
The Mets had come off a horrendous 3 game sweep at Wrigley and Jacob deGrom was like that giant pencil eraser that wiped out the memory of the last 3 nights with both his arm and his bat. He batted 8th in the lineup card of Luis Rojas and that proved to be the right move as he drove in the night’s first run in the fifth inning after the team did not score with runners on first and third and none out 3 innings earlier. Brandon Nimmo followed with a 2 run single that made it 3-0 and then crushed a 2 run homer after deGrom’s second hit of the game to put an offensive exclamation point on the night.
But the right arm of deGrom was center stage on this night as he tossed a complete game 2 hit shutout striking out a career high 15 batters. He joins Pedro Martinez and Gerrit Cole as the only hurlers to strike out at least 14 batters in three straight starts And the 50 strikeouts is his first four starts are the most in baseball history. Those stats are courtesy of Sarah Lang who does a great job on finding stats for all of us.
The overall dominance of deGrom is downright staggering–4 starts–0.31 ERA , 0.55 WHIP, 29IP, 13H, 1 ER, 3 BB’s 50 strikeouts. When you go even further he lowered his career ERA to 2.55 tops in Mets franchise history overtaking Tom Seaver’s career ERA of 2.57. The Met fans serenaded him with MVP chants and who could argue with them? He may be the best overall player in the game right now and Brandon Nimmo put it best when he said, “I am in awe of him in everything he does and yes I still get surprised by his competitive juices some times but know i shouldn’t because he is the best I have ever seen.”
Luis Rojas knows how competitive his ace pitcher is when he said, “He loves to compete and not just on the mound. He competes in the batters box and fielding his position as well. And he creates great moments.”
And this great moment came at a time the team desperately needed it as they looked awful for 3 nights in Wrigley Field and deGrom righted the ship with a stellar performance that has become commonplace when he takes the hill. I laugh at the people the past few years who criticized me for calling him the game’s best pitcher citing hurlers like Luis Severino and Gerrit Cole as better pitchers which is downright laughable right now.
I learned all I need to know about Jacob deGrom on that October night in Dodger Stadium as it was do or die game on the road for the right to advance to the NLCS. And he did not have his best stuff but willed the Mets to a win with courage, fire and that competitive spirit we now see every fifth day. It is the same exact fire I saw From Hall Of Famer Tom Seaver growing up watching baseball in this town. And it is great to see deGrom connect young Met fans with what watching #41 was like at Shea in the late 60’s and early 70’s.
We are watching a very special pitcher who is in the middle of a historic run but also has the will and desire to know 5 days from now he may be asked to match this performance which he has done time and time again in his Met career. We are watching a Hall of Fame pitcher before our very eyes and for people who watched Tom Seaver they must feel like it is Ground Hog Day. I know the Mets opposing teams feel like they are competing against a legend. And they are–a legend Met fans should appreciate every waking moment that he wears the Orange and Blue.